LAST NIGHT'S GAMES:
- The day got started off with some good news, as Henrik Lundqvist returned, stopping 29 of 31 Pittsburgh shots to lead the Rangers to a 4-2 victory and tie their 1st round series at 1 a piece. The Penguins got 2 on the PP from Phil Kessel, while the Rangers got goals from Mats Zuccarello, Derek Brassard, Keith Yandle and Chris Kreider. Game 3 goes Monday at MSG.
- The Stars weren't expected to have the edge in goaltending in this series, but after 2 games, Kari Lehtonen has been the better goalie, letting in just one goal last night in the 2-1 win that gave the Dallas Stars a 2-0 series lead over the Minnesota Wild. Jamie Benn and a weird one from Antoinne Roussel scored for the Stars, while Marco Scandella scored for Minny.
- The Flyers are in trouble as Washington won handily again, this time a 4-1 victory, and if you listen closely, that whooshing sound you hear is Dan Cloutier exhaling, now free from the curse of of having given up the worst goal in playoff history. Congratulations, Steve Mason, you poor bastard...
John Carlson, Jason Chimera (with that stinker you saw above), Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom for the Caps, while Jakub Voracek replied for Philadelphia. That series shifts back to the City Of Brotherly Love for what should be an emotional game 3, the first the team has played since the death of team owner Ed Snyder last week.
- I hate narratives, those of you that read my stuff here know that much about me. And despite that, I still hesitate to say the Kings are in trouble after losing Game 2 to the San Jose Sharks, simply because of what happened in 2012, when the Sharks blew the 3 game lead against the Kings. That being said, this is not the same Sharks team, and it's not the same Kings team either. For one thing, they don't seem to have an answer for Joe Pavelski. The Sharks captain scored his 3rd of the playoffs in the first, and then got a PPG from Logan Couture in the 2nd that held up as the winner. A late PPG from Vincent Lecavalier made it close, but they now head to San Jose down 2-0.
- We start with Chicago and St Louis today, and kids I hope you have your barf bags ready because the water carrying for Chicago is gonna be intense today. After getting a ton of help from the officials in the last game, the narrative today will be that the Blues are somehow in trouble in a tied series. Also, you're gonna get a whole lot of Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane, which is totally gross for so many reasons. The Blues have one 3 of their last 5 at the United Center, and fueled by the disappointment of the last game, will come out strong against the Hawks.
- Petr Mrazek will start for Detroit today as the Red Wings look to get back into their series at home against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Jimmy Howard was tagged for both losses in the series so far, and the Wings are turning to Mrazek to avoid going down 3-0. Mrazek played all 7 games of the series against the Lightning last year, and shut them out twice in that process before losing Game 7. Erik Condra replaces the injured JT Brown for Tampa while Brendan Smith draws in for Detroit.
- Playoff hockey comes to Brooklyn for the first time as the Islanders host the Florida Panthers in Game 3. Roberto Luongo and Reilly Smith have been the story for the Panthers so far, with Luongo rebounding from the Game 1 loss by stopping 42 shots, and Smith has 3 goals and 2 assists so far. They'll need to get the line of Jaromir Jagr, Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov need to get going for the Panthers, while the Islanders will look to more strong play from John Tavares to guide them to a Game 3 win.
- While it was a lucky bounce that gave Nashville the win in Game 1. Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau feels his team didn't compete hard enough Friday night, and we can expect to see the Ducks come out hard and nasty in Game 2. That means the Predators will need to make sure they make the most of their PP opportunities, because they'll get them against a perpetually undisciplined Ducks squad. Kevin Bieksa is a game time decision and may draw in if Josh Manson is unable to go after suffering an injury in Game 1.
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN
This week, one of Canada's legendary metal acts marked an anniversary as ANVIL's METAL ON METAL celebrated it's 34th anniversary. Here's Lips and the boys with the title track...